Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

November 23, 2013

Gilbert Achcar: Syria in the context of the Arab uprisings

Filed under: Syria — louisproyect @ 3:15 am


  1. If Assad fell, Syria would most likely be broken up into small entities. Who would that serve?

    Comment by Peter Byrne — November 23, 2013 @ 7:48 pm

  2. If in those smaller entities there is peace, an end to torture and death squads, and respect for minorities like the Kurds, that would be an improvement. The big problem in Africa and the Middle East is that the colonists left states behind them that had little to do with preexisting affinities. Basil Davidson’s “Black Man’s Burden” is a very good study of these issues. The British and the French cobbled together states frequently in order to create rivalries where none existed previously. Rwanda is a prime example. With respect to Syria, it was the al-Assad tribe that set in motion the conflicts we see today by creating a garrison state composed primarily of the Alawi elite. This was a formula for disaster. When the economy was expanding, conflicts were contained. When he imposed neoliberalism of the most vicious sort resulting in 65 percent unemployment in the primarily Sunni countryside, there was an explosion.

    Comment by louisproyect — November 23, 2013 @ 9:43 pm

  3. I understand the importance of continuing the motion of the Arab Spring, and would like to ask first, whether it may be possible to compromise with the Assad regime in this current crisis rather than feel stuck supporting a rebellion that is much like the fighting in Iraq or Libya.

    The second question, is although we hear talks about supporting regime change over Assad, what is the percent and numbers of leftist forces among the rebels?

    Joseph Daher of the Syrian “Revolutionary Current” talks about “Local Coordinating Committees” as if they are a serious force in Syria:
    “We have to understand more generally the crucial role played by the popular committees and organisations in the continuation of the revolutionary process, they are the ultimate actors that allow the popular movement to resist.” Budour Hassan, an anarchist who supports the rebels, said in a talk in New York: “So yes, the Syrian Revolution was indeed hijacked… But that… doesn’t mean that… we should stand on the sidelines and stop supporting it. Of course there are still so many revolutionaries working on the ground, many of them are nonviolent, and there are even many nonsectarian armed brigades that we cannot ignore.”

    But elsewhere he says: “The left has mostly been engaged in the civil work, in opposition to the armed work.” In other words, the rebel forces really include few leftists? Gayyath Naisse of the same organization mentions “The absence of an organised revolutionary left in Syria as an important actor”. (http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/1284).

    If it were true that few leftists actually in Syria were part of the rebellion would that change our assessment of it? If the composition of a rebellion begins democratically and then shifts into a set of oppressive reactionary forces guided by empires as proxy forces, does that change our assessment of it as well?

    Comment by Hal — November 26, 2013 @ 11:00 pm

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